THANKSGIVING DINNER MENU:
Apple salad, roasted turkey, gravy, roasted sweet potatoes, spicy sage dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, squash and carrot medley, biscuits, cranberry sauce, olives and pickles
Dessert: apple pie
Biscuits (make ahead and freeze)
Ingredients: 5 cups self-rising flour (make sure it's fresh, so it is still active) plus more flour for kneading, 1 cup solid vegetable shortening (margarine), approximately 1 to 2 cups of water (or substitute soy milk or orange juice for different flavors).
Directions: Sift out any lumps in flour. Mix in shortening with clean hands, breaking up the shortening with your fingers, until it is of uniform consistency, like cornmeal. Gradually stir in water, a little at a time, until it is the consistency of Play-doh, or maybe just a bit looser. Turn onto floured surface and lightly knead about 5 times. Dust with more flour if dough is sticky and knead again. Roll out and cut with a biscuit cutter or the top of a drinking glass. Cook on a lightly oiled cooking sheet at 400 degrees F., for about 10 minutes, or until golden browned.
Or to make ahead... Lay cut biscuits on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper and put into your freezer for several hours until frozen solid. Place frozen uncooked biscuits into a zipper-lock freezer bag and store in the freezer. From frozen, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. So much better than those refrigerated biscuit whack and cook logs, and they have no dairy. For Thanksgiving, make as much as you need well in advance. These are great with gravy or with honey.
Ingredients: turkey (1 lb. per person), kosher salt, onions, carrots, celery, softened (room temp) vegetable oil spread (margarine)
Directions: Thaw turkey in refrigerator. The night before cooking, remove turkey insides and discard the liver. Rinse neck and giblets with cool water, rub with kosher salt and put into a covered bowl of water in the refrigerator. This will be used for making broth. Rub turkey inside and out with kosher salt. Fill roasting pan with water and soak turkey in the salt water overnight in the refrigerator. The morning of Thanksgiving, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain and discard salt water. Rinse turkey and roasting pan inside and out with clear cool water. Stuff turkey with cut up vegetables. The veggies don't have to be pretty. They'll be discarded. They are just there to flavor the meat. Add the leaves and ends of the celery and carrots, along with good cuts of onion to your stock. Cross the little turkey legs and tie together. You don't need anything special for this. You can use dental floss. Rub outside of turkey with softened margarine. Place turkey in a large roasting pan, breast side up. Roast in preheated oven.
If your turkey weighs 10 - 18 lbs, cook for 3 - 3 1/2 hours
If your turkey weighs 18 - 22 lbs., cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours
If your turkey weighs 22 - 24 lbs., cook for 4 - 4 1/2 hours
If your turkey weighs 24 - 30 lbs., cook for 4 1/2 to 5 hours
If you are cooking stuffing inside the turkey, you will need to allow another 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours
Halfway through cooking time, cover with roasting lid or aluminum foil tent. Begin checking for doneness about a half an hour before suggested roasting time. Test your turkey for doneness by piercing the thigh muscle deeply. Juices should run clear, not pink. If using a meat thermometer, place deep into the thigh without touching the bone. Thermometer should reach 180 degrees F. If you make stuffing inside the turkey, place thermometer to the center of the stuffing. It should be at least 165 degrees in the center of the stuffing. If you have one of those nifty turkeys with the pop-up button already inserted, turkey is done when the button pops up. But check the juices in the thigh bone anyway, to make sure they are running clear, just in case the button was inserted wrong, or knocked loose in preparation.
Turkey Broth (make this while the turkey cooks)
After salting the neck and giblets, discard salt water and rinse meat. Boil together in a large stock pot with plenty of water, along with cuts of onion, celery, and carrots. Simmer for a couple of hours. Remove from heat. Take out the meat and vegetable pieces with a slotted spoon. Chill to bring fat to the top. Skim off the fat. Use the broth for making stuffing and gravy.
Ingredients: turkey pan drippings, margarine, flour, turkey broth, cornstarch (optional), water
Directions: After turkey has roasted, take out some drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan (for a large batch of gravy, I take about a cup, knowing some is fat and will be discarded), scraping up browned bits as you do. Add a couple of ice cubes and put into the freezer, to get the fat to rise to the top, or you can use a separater cup designed for this purpose. When chilled enough, skim fat from drippings. Put a couple of tablespoons of margarine in a saucepan on the stove over a low heat. Begin stirring with a wooden spoon and sprinkle in flour, about an equal amount of flour as margarine. Stir into a paste. Continue stirring and slowly add turkey drippings, breaking up the browned bits with spoon. Slowly add broth. Bring to a boil, continuing to stir, and cook until thickened. If you add a lot of broth, and you didn't add enough flour at the start to thicken it, you can dissolve a couple teaspoons of cornstarch into 1/4 cup of water, and slowly add to boiling gravy to thicken. If too thick, stir in more broth or some water.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (cook alongside turkey and reheat)
Use one potato per adult or per two children. Simply rub the skins of whole sweet potatoes with vegetable oil, stab with a fork a few times and put into the oven on a cooking sheet on a shelf under or over your turkey. Take out when potatoes are fork-tender. Reheat just before serving.
Spicy Sage Dressing (make when broth is ready, bake while turkey rests)
This makes about 8 large servings
Ingredients: turkey broth, whole loaf of bread, 2-3 onions, diced, 3 eggs, 1/2 to 1 cup chopped celery, 2 TBS. dried sage, salt & pepper
Directions: Tear up the bread into pieces in a large mixing bowl, add diced onions, celery, eggs, sage, and a few dashes each of salt and pepper. Mix with a spoon. Gradually pour broth over mixture, stirring, until all of the bread is wet. Put mix into a large baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or rubbed with vegetable oil. Bake at 400 degrees F., for an hour, or until firm and brown on top. You may want to cook this a day ahead of time, using store bought (or stored in your freezer) kosher turkey or chicken broth, and reheat in the oven just before dinner. This is spicy. If you have small children, you may want to cut the amount of sage and pepper.
Ingredients: potatoes (about a pound a serving), kosher broth (vegetable, turkey or chicken), salt, margarine (optional), chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Directions: Wash, peel and dice potatoes. Boil in a large pot with plenty of water and a dash or two of salt, until fork-tender. Drain almost all of the water, leaving a little bit. Whip with a mixer, in the pot, adding a little bit of broth as needed until creamy consistency. Transfer to serving dish. Make a well in the center with the back of a large spoon, and add margarine, if desired. Let margarine melt in the center, to form a little pool. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
Southern-Style (but still Kosher!) Green Beans
This is a must-have for our Thanksgiving, just because the kids so enjoy popping beans! Don't miss out on the fun by doing these alone. Let your kids help... the beans won't be uniform, and the kids may miss some end pieces, but so what? The fun is in spending time with your children in the kitchen. Isn't that something to be Thankful for?
Ingredients: fresh pole beans or green beans (you'll need 3/4 cup of green bean peices before cooking per serving... but that's really hard to figure, so just get lots), garlic clove, kosher chicken or turkey broth (lots)
Directions: Start these early in the day, or even the day before. Wash beans. Snap off the ends and any dark spots. Snap into pieces about 1 inch in length and put into large saucepan. Fill pan with water, enough to halfway cover beans. Add enough broth to fully cover and give them room to move about when cooking. Stir in a minced garlic clove and a few shakes of salt. Bring to a rolling boil, stir, and reduce to low simmer. Cover beans and simmer for at least 2 hours- all day is better - stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to keep the beans dancing around in the water. You want the beans to be very soft when they come out. No crisp-tender in the South! When ready, drain and and serve piping hot, with margarine and salt.
Squash & Carrot Medley
Ingredients: carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, olive oil, margarine
Directions: Wash and cut up all vegetables into bite sized chunks or coins. Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a deep skillet on medium heat. Add an equal amount of margarine and melt. Margarine will float on top of the oil and add flavor without scorching. Add carrots. Stir-fry carrots for a couple of minutes, then add squashes. Stir then cover, lowering heat to medium low. Stir occasionally, replacing lid after stirring, until all vegetables are tender.
I just open up a can of the whole berry cranberry sauce and put in the refrigerator overnight, right in the serving bowl. Mmmm! Stir in a little orange juice or orange zest to perk it up a bit.
Ingredients: 10 red apples, washed and cored, with the skins on them, 4 stalks of celery, washed and diced, 2 cups of chopped walnuts, 2 cups of raisins, 1/2 cup of mayonnaise (approx)
Directions: Mix all ingredients together, adding more or less mayonnaise to taste. Serve immediately. This makes 10-12 servings. Adjust according to the number of folks you are serving. This is a nice first course.
Apple Salad - Mom's improvement on Waldorf Salad
Instead of mayonnaise, use non-dairy whipped topping. Instead of walnuts, use pecans. Leave out the celery. Yum!
Olives and Pickles
Just open up a jar of green olives, a can of black olives and a jar of sweet or dill pickles, and arrange a plate.
Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups all purpose white flour, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, 5 lb bag of apples, 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, dash nutmeg, a few dabs of margarine, non-dairy whipped topping (optional)
Directions. Wash, peel, core and slice apples. Put into a large bowl and add about a cup and a half of sugar, about 2-3 TBS cinnamon, and a couple of dashes of nutmeg. These are guidelines. Add more or less according to your preferences. Stir to coat all apple pieces in sugar and spice mixture. Set aside. Working quickly, measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Add salt and stir to mix. Add shortening and mix with clean hands, until mixed together and crumbly like cornmeal. Divide into two and roll into two balls. Wrap one ball in plastic wrap or cover with a dampened dishtowel while you roll out the first crust. Roll it out bigger than you think you will need. Don't stretch it to fit, that doesn't work. Put the crust at the bottom of your pie pan, letting the crust hang off the sides all the way around. Roll out second crust and set aside. Fill first crust with apple mixture. It should seem way too full, mound it up. The apples shrink a lot in the baking. Dot with dabs of margarine, and cover with second crust. Pinch the two crusts together to seal in the liquids. Cut a few slits in the top to allow the steam to escape. Bake at 425 degrees F., for about 40 minutes. If the edges seem to be browning too fast, cover the edges with aluminum foil. Allow to cool at least partially before serving. Serve with non-dairy whipped topping, if desired.
VARIATION: Caramel apple pie. After baking apple pie, pour a jar of caramel sauce (the kind for ice cream) over the hot pie and sprinkle top with pecan pieces. If you are making this in advance, do not add the caramel sauce until just before serving. Heat sauce before pouring over cooled pie. Hint: You can buy a pie and do the caramel sauce and pecans, too.
Copyright 2005, 2008, 2010 Kathryn A. Frazier. Contact author for reprint information.
** When buying a whole turkey, plan on 1 lb. per person. (So, for twelve people, you'll need a twelve pound turkey.) If serving a bone-in breast instead of the whole bird, you'll need 3/4 lb. per person. This does not allow for all of the yummy leftovers, so buy according to whether or not you want extra.
** To cut cooking time, instead of one large 24 lb. turkey, make two 12 lb. ones. Carve one in the kitchen and one at the table.
** Don't cook stuffing inside the bird. Use a separate baking dish. Actually stuffing the turkey increases the risk of salmonella, and increases cooking time. If you use turkey broth to make the stuffing, you'll still get that rich turkey flavor.
** If you have to use those disposable roasting pans, double up, and use two. You could be badly burned if the foil bends and hot broth splashes you.
** Plan for the turkey to come out of the oven about an hour before you plan to eat. Cover it with a tent of aluminum foil, but don't carve it until serving time. Your turkey will get juicier, and your oven will be free to bake the stuffing, and for last minute reheats and biscuits.
** Mix and roll out biscuits a week or more in advance. Freeze on a cookie sheet, then pop into a zipper lock freezer bag. Keep frozen. Twenty minutes before dinner, pop biscuits into the oven.
** Make desserts two days before Thanksgiving- if you can keep your family out of them.
** Wash fresh produce at least a day in advance. Veggies can be pre-cut if you store them in a bowl of water in the refrigerator.
** Some vegetable oil spreads contain whey from milk. If you eat kosher, check labels, since this is a meat meal. Fleishman's has a dairy-free spread.
** If you're worried about pesticides, but can't afford to buy organic produce, try to get organic root vegetables: carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. Everything else, wash well, and soak in a sinkful of water to which 1/4 cup of vinegar and 2 TBS of baking soda has been added. Rinse with clear water after soaking.
** With your after dinner coffee, try a sprinkling of cinnamon, or just a drop of vanilla extract, in your cup. Really makes a difference.